Employees who are well-trained are an asset to any business. In a poor economy, unfortunately, the training budget for a business is often the first thing to go. Although eliminating your company's training budget might make sense at that particular time, the implications long-term can outweigh the costs you are saving at the moment.
Thinking long-term, lack of training can have a big impact on the motivation levels of your employees, increase business inefficiencies, and lead to employee turnover. These three things alone can be costly. So, how can you train and educate your employees efficiently but still keep within budget?
Tips for Budget-Friendly Training Methods
Optimize the Strengths of Your Employees
When you first hire a new employee, begin them with general training that gives them an overall introduction to your company. Each team member will not just be good in their specific roles, but be competent and comfortable with other roles inside your organization. Following that, have them pursue more specialized roles with more individualized training. It is also a good idea to cross-train for other roles. Cross training is one way to help employees become knowledgeable and skilled at performing other roles within the organization. If you can allow your employees to wear many hats, you are building a strong foundation and deepening your bench strength.
Positive Learning Atmosphere
Providing a positive learning environment promotes employee confidence and encourages development. With each lesson, clearly explain the purpose of each aspect of the training and how it relates to the employee's role within the company.
Negativity limits the learning process; therefore it is essential that trainers be patient, be constructive when mistakes happen, and reward staff accordingly for new achievements. When employees receive positive feedback, it will affirm and reinforce their efforts, and provide them with encouragement to continue learning.
Utilize Online Training Classes
Online courses are often low-cost or free and allow employees to proceed through the learning process at their pace. Companies like Dale Carnegie, Learning Tree, Business Training Institute, and BizLibrary all provide a wide array of online classes and can let your employees choose from a wide array of learning experiences.
Bring in the Professionals
You can utilize low-cost online courses, however, if you have specific training requirements you might have to invest in off-site educational programs. These will enable your employees to learn in an interactive classroom environment that offers fewer distractions. It can be a more time-saving and cost-effective option if you have multiple people to train if you bring the instructor on-site.
You can check into organizations like the Women's Business Center or your local Small Business Development Center about classes and courses that will fit your budget and your needs.
Continue the Learning Process
New employees should not be the only ones benefiting from the right kind of training. To keep an employee trained and focused on the success of your business, be sure to continue their learning process throughout their career.
New areas, including laws, regulations, and technology, are continually popping up that employees need to learn. Also, keeping abreast of internal business changes will require fresh perspectives, updated skills, and new ideas. Utilize trade associations, brown bag lunches, and mentoring and cross training programs for ongoing employee development.
Not only can performance be improved through proper training, but staff morale and profit can be as well. When employees acquire new skills, it builds their self-esteem and increases their contribution to your company. They will also feel valued and appreciate the investment you make in them.